Specialized stroke care expands to West Prince

Paul Young (left), Health and Wellness Minister Rob Henderson, and Eva Rodgerson, chairperson of the Community Hospital O'Leary Foundation Board, view some of the equipment used for the provincial Telestroke program expansion to Community Hospital O'Leary

Supporting Island Families -

Community Hospital O’Leary marked its 60th anniversary with a community celebration and an investment in stroke care, which eliminates the need to travel to Charlottetown for some rehabilitation services.

The expansion of the Telestroke program to Community Hospital O’Leary means West Prince residents can access post-stroke rehabilitation services without traveling to the provincial Ambulatory Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Stroke rehabilitation is critical to helping survivors re-learn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged by a stroke.

“Finding innovative solutions to broaden access to timely and appropriate stroke rehabilitation services is vital,” said Sarah Crozier, health promotion manager with the Heart and Stroke PEI. “We are pleased that individuals living in West Prince will now have full access to these services close to home, eliminating the barrier of having to travel.”

Introduced at Prince County Hospital in 2014, Telestroke has since been added to Western and Souris hospitals and provided 25 Islanders with rehabilitation consults in 2016.

“In the 60 years that Community Hospital O’Leary has been a pillar of our rural health care system, we have seen how new technology and equipment can improve a person’s health outcome and quality of life,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “Expanding Telestroke services to rural hospitals is providing better access to care for Islanders and increased supports available right in their communities. The ongoing advancements and growth of PEI’s stroke care program are due to the hard work and dedication of our staff, as well as ongoing support from community partners.”

Telestroke allows for follow-up consultations to be carried out via secure video conferencing from a designated rural hospital with the team of specialists at the provincial clinic in Charlottetown. When a stroke survivor has a Telestroke consultation, a member of the survivor’s district (local) stroke-care team is in the room with the individual and participates in the discussions with stroke specialists that may include physiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, orthotics, and nursing.

“Telestroke is an emerging best practice in medicine that allows us to provide the timely and convenient access to rehabilitative stroke care to our patients, while also providing enhanced collaboration among our health care providers and stroke specialists across the province,” explained Provincial Stroke Program Coordinator Trish Helm-Neim. “For a small province, Prince Edward Island has done well to keep up with ongoing advancements in stroke care, including clinical practice and use of technology.”

The expansion of the Telestroke service to Community Hospital O’Leary was made possible through a co-funded investment of $15,000 by the Community Hospital O’Leary Foundation and the Prince Edward Island Women’s Institute.

For more information, visit Organized Stroke Care Program.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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